More than 150 investigators from sub-Saharan African, the US, France, and Switzerland are in Rwanda for a two day meeting. The International Epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) all Africa regional meeting is aimed at sharing knowledge and methods, and strengthening collaborations to develop research approaches to optimize the implementation of universal testing and treatment for HIV in the region.
In her opening remarks, the Minister of Health, Hon Dr Diane Gashumba underlined the importance of convening researchers from different corners of the world to discuss and chart away the best practices to achieve global goals of HIV universal testing and treatment.
“We are delighted to host this meeting now, and to participate in the IeDEA network’s important initiative to develop consensus around critical research priorities that can inform best practices and optimisation of Treat All implementation throughout the entire region”, Minister Gashumba said in her opening remarks.
According to Dr Denis Nash from IeDEA, Central Africa region ‘Treat All’—represents an important strategy for Sub Saharian African region, which has the highest rates of HIV incidence and mortality and the greatest numbers of people living with undiagnosed and untreated HIV infection.
In her presentation to the meeting participants, Dr Ribakare Muhayimpundu, Director of HIV Care and Treatment Unit at Rwanda Biomedical Centre disclosed that due to good and visionary leadership, Rwanda is at 82.6% on the implementation of World Health Organisation’s Universal Test and Treat strategy, also known as “Treat All”. The global target is 90 percent (90%).
The Commandant of Rwanda Military Hospital welcomed the meeting participants and expressed his satisfaction of the expected outcomes of the meeting.
“As one of the first institutions in Rwanda to implement the “treat all” strategy, the Rwanda Military Hospital is very pleased to share our experience and perspectives on Treat All. We also value this opportunity to join with HIV researchers from across sub-Saharan Africa in order to discuss how we can—together—share ideas and generate the evidence needed to strengthen implementation of this strategy in order to achieve its optimal benefits, including ending the HIV epidemic as a public health threat in sub-Saharan Africa”, Col Dr Jean Paul Bitega said.
The two day meeting that will be closed on 6 November 2017 is a collaborative effort of Rwanda Military Hospital, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the City University of New York Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH).